Awarded Second Prize for the 2020 American Alliance of Museums Publication Contest.

An original account of the life and work of legendary designer Jan Tschichold and his role in the movement in Weimar Germany to create modern graphic design.

Illustrated with images from Jan Tschichold’s little-known private collection of design ephemera, this book explores a legendary figure in the history of modern graphic design through the artists, ideas, and texts that most influenced him. Tschichold (1902–1974), a prolific designer, writer, and theorist, stood at the forefront of a revolution in visual culture that made printed material more elemental and dynamic. His designs were applied to everyday graphics, from billboard advertisements and business cards to book jackets and invoices.

This volume offers a new understanding of Tschichold’s work, and of the underlying theories of the artistic movement he helped to form, by analyzing his collections: illustrations, advertisements, magazines, and books by well-known figures, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and László Moholy-Nagy, and lesser-known artist-designers, including Willi Baumeister, Max Burchartz, Walter Dexel, and Piet Zwart. This book also charts the development of the New Typography, a broad-based movement across Central Europe that included “The Ring,” a group formed by Schwitters in 1927. Tschichold played a crucial role in defining this movement, documenting the theory and practice in his most influential book, The New Typography (1928), still regarded as a seminal text of graphic design.

Table of Contents
Director’s Foreword



Introduction: Jan Tschichold and the “Museum” of Graphic Design

Chapter 1: Jan Tschichold: Typographer, Designer, Theorist
Chapter 2: The New Typography, 1923-33: Theory and Practice
Chapter 3: The Final Years: The Fall and Rise of the New Typography

Primary Texts on the New Typography
1. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, “Rivoluzione typografica”
2. El Lissitzky, “Topographie der Typographie”
3. László Moholy-Nagy, “Die neue Typographie”
4. El Lissitzky, “Typographische Tatsachen”
5. László Moholy-Nagy, “Typohoto”
6. Kurt Schwitters, “Thesen über Typographie”
7. Iwan Tschichold, “Elementare Typographie”
8. Willi Baumeister, “Neue Typographie”
9. Walter Dexel, “Was ist neue Typographie?”
10. Franz Roh, “Warum 4 Alphabete”
11. “Normalisierung der Papierformate”
12. Max Burchartz, “Gestaltung der Reklame”
13. Johannes Molzahn, Letterhead statement
14. Lajos Kassák, “Reklám és modern tipográfia”
15. Jan Tschichold, “Was ist und was will die neue Typografie?”
16. Wladyslaw Strzeminski, “Druk Funkcjonalny”

A Note on the Jan Tschichold Collection in the Museum of Modern Art

Exhibition Checklist